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Syria 28, United States 19, U.s. 12, Assad 12, Us 7, Israel 6, U.n. 6, America 5, Britain 5, Suzanne 4, Schwab 4, Turkey 4, John Kerry 4, George W. Bush 3, Kerry 3, Iraq 3, France 3, Medicare 3, Obama Administration 3, Damascus 3,
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  CNN    CNN Newsroom    News/Business. Latest on the day's top news stories  
   with a focus on global news, trends and destinations. New.  

    August 30, 2013
    10:00 - 11:01am PDT  

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we will not repeat that moment. we have taken unprecedented steps to declassify and judge for themselves. in order to protect sources and methods, some of what we know will only be released to members of congress and representatives of the american people. that means some things we do know we can't talk about publicly. what do we know that we can talk about? we know the assad regime has the largest chemical weapons program in the entire middle east. we know that the regime has used those weapons multiple times this year. and used them on a smaller scale but it's used them against her
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own people, including not very from where it happened last week. it was frustrating that it hadn't succeeded in doing so. we know that for three days before the attack the syrian regimes, chemical weapons personnel were on the ground in the area making preparations. we know that the syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical peps. we know these were specific truxs. we know where the rockets were laurmed from and at what time. we know where they landed and
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when. we know rockets came only from regime controlled areas and went to contested neighborhoods. we know, as does the world, just 90 minutes later all held broke loose in the social media. with our own eyes we have seen the thousands of reports from 11 separate sites in the damascus disturbs. all of them show people twitching with spasms, rapid heartbea heartbeats, foaming at the mouth, unconsciousness and death. we know it was ordinary syrian citizens who reported all of these horrors. just as important, we know what the doctors and the nurses who treated them didn't report. not a scratch, not a shrapnel
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wound, not a cut, not a gunshot wound. we saw rows of deadlined up in burial shrouds. the white linen unstained by a drop of blood. instead of being tucked safely in their beds at home, we saw rows of children lying side by side sprawled on a hospital floor. all of them dead from assad's gas and surrounded by parents and grandparents who has suffered the same fate. the united states government now knows that at least 1429 syrians were killed in this attack including at least 426 children. even the first responders, the doctors, nurses and medics who tried to save them, they became victim themselves. we saw them gasping for air.
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terrified that their own lives were in danger. this is the indiscriminate, this is what assad did to his own people. we also know disturbing details about the aftermath. we know that a senior regime official who knew about the attack confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime. reviewed the impact and actually was afraid they would be discovered. we know this. we know what they did next. i personally called the foreign minister of syria and i said to him if as you say your nation has nothing to hide then let the united nations in immediately and give the inspectors the
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unfetzered access so they have the opportunity to tell your story. for four days they shelled the neighborhood in order to destroy evidence. bombarding block after block at a rate four times higher than they had over the previous ten days. when the u.n. inspectors finally gained access, that access was restricted and controlled. in all of these things that i have listed, in all these things that we know, all of them, the american intelligence community has high confidence, high confidence this is common sense. this is evidence. these are facts. the primary question is really no longer what do we know. the question is what are we, we
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collectively, what are we in the world going to do about it? as previous storms in history have gathered, when unspeakable crimes were within our power to stop them, we have been warned against the temptations of looking the other way. history is full of leaders who were borne against inaction and difference and especially against silence when it mattered most. our choices then in history had great con skesequences. our choice today has great consequences. it matters that nearly 100 years ago in direct response to inhumanity of world war i that the civilized world agreed that chemical weapons should never be used again. that was the world's resolve then. that began a century of effort to create a clear red line for the international community.
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it matters today that we're working as an international community to rid the world of the worst weapons. that's why we signed agreements like the stark treaty, the chemical weapons committee that more than 180 countries have signed onto. it matters to our security and the security of our allies. it matters to israel. it matters to jordan, turkey and lebanon. all of whom live a stiff breeze away from damascus. it matters to all of them where the syrian chemical weapons are. if unchecked they can cause even greater damage and destruction to those friends. it matters deeply to the credibility in the future interest of the united states of america and our allies.
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it matters because a lot of other countries are watching. they are watching. they want to see whether the united states and our friends mean what we say. they're watching to see if syria can get away with it because then maybe they, too, can put the world at greater risk. make no mistake, in an increasingly complicated world of sectarian and violence what we choose to do or not do matters in real ways to our own security. some cite the risk of doing things. we need to ask what is the risk of doing nothing. it matters because if we choose to live in a world where a thug and a murder like assad can gas
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thousands of his own people with impunity even after the united states and our allies said no and then the world does nothing about it, there will be no end to the test of our resolve and the dangers that will flow from those others who believe that they can do as they will. this matter also beyonds the limits of syria's borders. it's about whether iran, which itself has been a victim of chemical weapons attacks will now feel em boldened in the absence of action to obtain nuclear weapons. it's about hezbollah and every other terrorist group that might con template the use of weapons of mass destruction. will they remember that the assad regime was stopped from those weapons current or future use or whether they remember that the world stood aside and
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created impunity? our concern is not just about some far off land oceans away. that's not what this is about. our concern where the cause of the defenseless people of syria is ant choices that will direct ly affect role in the world and our interest. we're the united states of america. we're the country that's always tried, not always successfully, but always tried to northern a set of universal values around which we have organized our lives and our aspirations. this crime against conscious, this crime against humanity, this crime against the most fundamental principles of international community and the
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norm of international community, this matters to us. it matters to who we are. it matters to leadership and to our credibility in the world. my friends, it matters here if nothing is done. it matters if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens. america should feel gratified. we are not alone in our condemnation an we're not alone in our will to do something about it an to act. the world is speaking out and many friends stand ready to respond. the organization for islamic cooperation condemn the regime and said we needed, quote, to hold the syrian government
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legally an morally accountable for this crime. our oldest ally, the french, said the regime committed this vile action and it's an outrage to use weapons that the community has banned for the last 90 years in all international conventions. the australian prime minister said he didn't want history to report that we were the party to turning such a blind eye. now that we know what we know, the question we must be asking is what will we do. let me emphasize president obama, we in the united states, we believe in the united nations. we have great respect for the brave inspectors who endure regime, gunfire and strouxs to their investigation. as the secretary general has
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said again and again, the u.n. investigation will not affirm who used these chemical weapons. that's not the mandate for the u.n. investigation. they will only affirm whether such weapons were used. by the definition of their own mandate, the u.n. can't tell us anything we haven't shared with you this afternoon or that we don't already flknow. because of the guaranteed russian obstructionism, the u.n. cannot galvanize the world to act as it should. let me be clear. we'll continue talking to the congress, talking to our allies and most importantly talking to the american people. president obama will ensure that the united states of america makes our own decisions on our
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own time lines based on our own values and our interests. we know that after a decade of conflict the american people are tired of war. believe me, i am too. fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility. history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictators wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency. these things we do know. we also know we have a president who does what he says what he will do. he has said very clearly that whatever decision he makes in syria, it will bear no resemblance to afghanistan, iraq
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or even libya. it will not involve any boots on the ground. it will not be open ended. it will not assume responsibility for the civil war that's already well under way. the president has been clear. any action he might decide to take will be limited in tailored response to ensure that a flay grant use of chemical weapons is held accountable and ultimately, we are committed. we remain committed. we ploobelieve it's the primary objective. we know there's no ultimate military solution. it has to be political. it has to happen at the negotiating table. we are committed to getting
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there. that's what we know. that's what the leaders of congress now know and that's what the american people need to know. that is of the decision that must now be made for the security of our country and for the promise of the planet where the world's most heinous weapons must never again be used against the world's most vulnerable people. thank you. >> there you hear the secretary of state john kerry making the case very bluntly, very brutally, we should say that the united states almost certainly now will go ahead with some sort of limited military response to try to punish the regime of president bashar assad irrespective of u.n. inaction and irrespective of the lack of coalition that will contribute
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military prowess. the secretary of state making it clear the president of the united states is determined to do something, some sort of response to punish assad and his generals and top leadership as a result of the killing of these people outside of damascus on august 21st. the secretary of state saying 1,429 people were killed in those gas attacks. he said 426 of them were children. let's bring in jim acosta. there's no doubt that the united states is going to act. the secretary of state saying if the u.s. were to remain silent that would be a disaster sending the wrong signal. the key question is when will that begin. i assume it will begin fairly soon because the president is leaving for russia in the middle
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of next week. >> i think that's right, wolf. we should caution the president has not laid out a time line for what his response will be. the u.n. has said weapons inspectors in syria will be out tomorrow morning. that opens up a window of opportunity for the president to take action between that point and when he leaves for the g-20. there's about a 72-hour time frame for when the president will act. just to go back to what the secretary of state was saying a few moments ago. it was striking because he was talking about some of the unclassified intelligence that they were willing to put out. he talked about the communications that were intercepted indicating that people inside the syrian government orchestrated this. over and over again he talked about the videos led him
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together there were signs of chemical exposure an the timing of the attack. it does seem clear that the videos really compelled this administration to respond. we said a few minutes ago that the vice president was askise a about a global response. he said i know everybody's on board. that pool note has been corrected to indicate he was talking about some leaders from the baltics. he was not talking about leaders around the world. >> the u.s. has been getting some rhetorical report from some
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areas of islamic league. turkey, a nato ally. he mentioned the french and australia. are there any elements to show they're ready to provide back up to the united states? >> reporter: we haven't heard that yet. the french president said say he believes the syrian regime should be punished for that chemical weapons attack. we'll have to wait and find out whether or not the french may contribute to this. the president believes the national security interest of the united states are at stake here and he believes an international norm has been violated by this chemical weapons attack and the president feels he must take action to respond to that.
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the message system not sent only to believe assad's leader but around the world that the u.s. won't sit by. secretary kerry also mentioned iraq an about the concern about emboldening iran if no response is given to what happened in syria. wolf. >> standby. congress isn't in session now. they've been getting briefed on the phone. there's no indication that congress is about to break their recess, come back to washington and vote on a resolution. >> the same thing is going on as we speak, as the secretary of state told the public, the call
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went out from other administration officials to all members of the senate. i'm told the same will happen on the house side later this evening. as the secretary was speaking i went back and looked at the letter that the house speaker sent to the president earlier this week for a list of more than a dozen specific questions he thought it was important for the administration to happen in order to get the backing of the american public for any kind of military strike. the secretary did address many of them. he made sure it would be limited and the u.s. would not get involved in the civil war and the reasons that the obama administration considers what is going on internally in syria very much in the national security interest of the united states. definitely pl lly members of co
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who are reluctant to use any military force at all. they're not going to be convinced. maybe some looking for more explanation will be very happy to hear what they heard. >> we'll continue to watch what's going on. this is a critically important story. the president of the united states will order military action probably very soon. inaction inaction, in the words of secretary of state, would be an awful situation for the united states an the rest of the world. the risk of doing nothing will be unacceptable. he said it will be limited. we'll see what will happen. we'll have extensive coverage coming up later today throughout the day on cnn.
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a special at 6:00 p.m., the crisis in syria. we'll take a quick break. much more of our coverage right after this. ♪ [ female announcer ] when your swapportunity comes, take it. ♪ what? what? what? [ female announcer ] yoplait. it is so good. [ female announcer ] pop in a whole new kind of clean with tide pods. three chambers. three times the stain removal power. pop in. stand out. humans. we are beautifully imperfect creatures living in an imperfect world. that's why liberty mutual insurance has your back, offering exclusive products like optional better car replacement, where if your car is totaled, we give you the money to buy one a model year newer. call...
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we want to begin here with major general spidermarks weighing in about what we heard from john kerry and the administration's response now. it's going to be a limited response to the chemical attack in syria. explain to us what you think the administration needs to do. what to you suspect in terms of the scope of the operation and its effectiveness? >> what will probably happen within the next 48 hours we'll see the united states launch, i couldn't estimate the number of missiles but i would probably put a, let me put a number out there and say it will be in the neighborhood of about 100. they'll go after very fixed
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targets. very specific locations that are a part of assad's war making capability. that contribute directly to his ability to deliver a chemical weapons. i don't anticipate the united states will go after the chemical stockpiles. that couldn't be struck effectively by cruise missiles. i think over the course of those two days you'll see a strike. you'll see the abilities to do what's called a battle damage assessment or to measure the effectiveness of that strike and then have another strike that goes after it. over the course of a couple of days you might see what might be known as a series of strikes to assure they are completely
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degraded to assad's regime loses functionality in terms of its abilities to deliver chemical weapons. it will not address the ongoing civil war. fwl t >> the fact it's broadcast, is there any chance they have been moving artillery around those sites where they might be empty by time we hit them. is that possible? >> it's very, very possible. we have been discussing this for a number of days. what the united states has lost in its effort to build credibility and to build somewhat of a coalition and establish the credibility of the strike, we've lost the element of surprise which is a criminal principle of war. he's no dummy. he might be a criminal but he's not a dummy. they are emptying those sites. i'm certain they are dispersing
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their capabilities and turning off their command and control capabilities to impose a blackness in syria. blackness in terms of radiating targets so it becomes that much more difficult to find those targets if they are mobile. if you're doing after fixed targets you'll go after that facility. the sad thing is it might be empty or more e e grejously he might move women and children in these places. >> just to wrap it up. are there any american lives that might be in danger? does syria have a capability to launch a counter attack? >> they have the capability but it will be denied so the short answer is no. >> we'll take a quick break. [ beeping ] ♪ [ male announcer ] we don't just certify our pre-owned vehicles. we inspect, analyze and recondition each one,
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just days before the new season is about to begin, the nfl has struck a deal with thousands of former players. the deal is to settle a class action lawsuit filed by the players who accuse the league of
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not doing enough to warn players about the risk of head injuries. here have the basics of the deal. the league pays out $765 million in total to settle the suit filed by former players and their families. some of that money gets paid out right away because there's a fund for medical examines and players who suffered brain injuries. the rest goes into a fund for injured players and the families of the players who have died. 4500 players and families filed suit against the league saying it knew the risk and did not warn the players and has to be approved by a judge. the deal means that the nfl doesn't have to admit any wrong doing. the league won't have to reveal its records or go through what could have been a long and difficult discovery process in the courts.
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jamal played for the falcons pro-ball selection before an injury ended his career. i'm sorry. i know your name. >> i thought you were going somewhere else. >> where do you go from here? >> i don't know. when i joined the concussion lawsuit for not just my health but the other players, it's going to be interesting. the settlement provides for a claims process where there will be independent doctors and administrators will decide what players get what. it's going to be based on the severity of their injuries and years they played in the nfl and the players age. i heard yesterday that people think there's going to be some big checks that are going to all these players.
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that's not going to be the case. that's going to depend on your medical condition. >> why did you feel the nfl was responsible? >> i think there were certain things that we were never now really discover this. i believe that the practices that have been in place now like many other players, i think they could be in place several years ago. there's never been a situation, i hear people say you knew football was dangerous. that's not the point. the things to make the game as safe as we can while understanding it's still football and there are aspects of the game that we continue to love because of its physicality and what guys are able to do on the field. could we have had procedures in place that could have staved off the severity of players. >> this doesn't affect current players. dwlou think it needs do you thi
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be a broader scope? >> there should be certain assurances for owners. this will not just cover the litigants but any player that chooses to file. this will be over a 20-year period. there's going be a long and arduous process by which this money will be dispensed. >> if you had known early on the kind of injuries that you would sustain, including head injuries, would you have started? >> absolutely. i love the game of football. my thing is my 8-year-old son plays and i know the things that i know now and the things we can put into place if something should transpire with him or anybody else on the field, i think they're of critical importance. can they keep anybody 100% safe? absolutely not. this is still football. we're talking about making the
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game that we enjoy as safe as we can with the research at hand. for me and many other players that was the biggest thing with this case. >> all right. good to see you. >> thank you. here is what we're working on for this hour. will they stay or will they go? in d.c. walmart waits on a decision about a controversial living wage bill. [ bottle ] okay, listen up! i'm here to get the lady of the house back on her feet. [ all gasp ] oj, veggies -- you're cool. mayo? corn dogs? you are so outta here!
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and could save you thousands a year in out-of-pocket costs. call now to request your free decision guide. and learn more about the kinds of plans that will be here for you now -- and down the road. i have a lifetime of experience. so i know how important that is. washington, d.c. is trying to force big retailers to pay what they call a living wage. it's not been signed into law yet but walmart is warning it could have consequences for the city. >> reporter: d.c. wants these big box retailers to pay more to their workers. what if the retailers walk and there's no new jobs. that's the crux of the issue. there's been a seven-week delay
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of signing this bill that would force walmart and the other big box retailers to pay more. they want stores bigger than 75,000 feet or parent companies with sales of a billion dollars or more is to pay workers $12.25 this could be the beginning to align wages. in d.c. reporters say you can't live on 8.25 an hour. that's the minimum wage. the mayor said in the living wage battle that's being waged he sees many unanswered questions about the bill's potential impact on the economy in that area. just ahead, as the call for military intervention in syria gets clouder, seem feel it's reminiscent of the cold war in iraq. our next guest tells us why she believes it's different. @@ax
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an american president says a middle eastern country has weapons of mass destruction. he builds a coalition of the willing from military strike against that said country. sound familiar? some say it sounds like a decade
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ago when he heard george w. bush make his case for war in iraq. the similarities are just a few. take a listen. >> the iraqi regime is a serious and growing threat to peace. on the commands of a dictator, the regime is armed with bilogical and chemical weapons. it possesses ballistic missiles and promotes international terror and seeks nuclear weapons. >> my next guest says there are far more differences between president bush's action in iraq ten years ago and president obama's desire to act in syria. jane newton small is time magazine's correspondent. good to see you as always. we should let our audience know setting up those similarities,
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that's the first line from your article. tell us why you think they're not similar. >> well, first of all, the object of the action and that regime change. about ten years ago george w. bush really wanted to topple hussein. barack obama does not want to topple assad because they're very worried if they do there will be a vacuum of power in syria and it will become a failed state and al qaeda could take over. they're really not trying to get assad out. >> tell us about the point you make about limited engagement. we heard that before. we heard it from president bush. we're hearing it where we expect the president will say this is a very limited situation. >> remember back at that time george w. bush mustered 130,000 troops by the time he made that speech to the american public. in this case you've got maybe five slips off the coast of
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syria. you have no boots on the ground and it really is an operation that experts expect will last two or three days and twhants it to they want it to be done by the time the president leaves next week. there's always the risk if he uses chemical weapons again, we're going to find ourselves right back where we are now trying to prevent him from killing his own people. >> we heard this many, many times talking about the coalition of the willing here really trying to drum up as much support as you could to hit hussein in iraq. how is that different from what we're hearing today? >> this is very similar. we have no international constitutions backing this action against syria. russia was blocking a resolution. the arab league is divided over this. so is the european union. britain voted against any action. there's no major international
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constituti institutions that are backing this. you have the coalition of willing that felt similar to what bush felt. you are talking about as john kerry said earlier, france, australia, turkey. these are countries that are important to give legitimacy to what we're doing. >> people are suspicious because of the intelligence. that's one of the reasons they are making those parallels but these are different scenarios. we'll have more analysis on potential military strike in syria after the break. she's agreed to give it up. that's today? [ male announcer ] we'll be with her all day to see how it goes. [ claira ] after the deliveries, i was okay. now the ciabatta is done and the pain is starting again. more pills? seriously? seriously. [ groans ] all these stops to take more pills can be a pain. can i get my aleve back?
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we are following breaking news. secretary of state john kerry making announcement just in the last hour or so that the obama administration certainly is considering some kind of action
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regarding syria for the chemical weapons strike that syria actually did against its own civilians, its own people. let's listen in to some of the highlights the secretary was talking about just 30 minutes ago. >> well, we know that the assad regime has the largest chemical weapons program in the entire middle east. we know that the regime has used those weapons multiple times this year. and has used them on a smaller scale, but still it has used them against its own people. it matters deeply to the credibility and the future interests of the united states of america and our allies. it matters because a lot of other countries whose policies challenge these international norms are watching. they are watching. they want to see whether the united states and our friends mean what we say.
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>> i want to go to elise labbott at the state department to break this down. we heard earlier. he said the stated goal is not regime change. they've been talking to their allies and friends with loss of support, at least the military support of great britain when it comes to a military strike. what does he hope to accomplish by doing this? >> i think that's the largest question. when we talk about how the administration is briefing congress and is going to address members of the american public, that's the question. what are the goals here, s suzanne? is it attached to larger policy goals for syria and the region? what i've heard from my sources is the goal is three-fold. first of all it's to answer this chemical weapons attack. show president assad and the regime that there is a cost for using it, degrade his ability to use it again, and weaken him just enough so that he's weakened against the opposition
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to give them an edge but not topple him entirely. as you have been talking about, jay newton-small saying the administration very concerned that if assad were to go right now, what would happen next? would there be islamists that would fill that vacuum? right now i don't want to say it's a slap on the wrist. but it definitely as the administration has been making clear, a very clear cut response to this attack. >> elise, why is it that the obama administration made the decision it would go it alone? they had turned to its greatest ally, here, britain, and did not get the support. they have now withdrawn their support. why do they think this is something they feel so strongly about that they will do by themselves? >> i want to be clear. i don't think the u.s. is alone, so to speak. obviously britain is a very close ally and we have a lot of military cooperation between the u.s. and the british militaries. but that's a very symbolic type of cooperation that they would be offering. because the u.s. can go it
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alone. i think the u.s. also has france that has said that they would support something. the president hollande of france has said. and you also have turkey. a neighbor of syria who has said that it would be in. so it won't necessarily be alone. although britain's participation or absence of it is noticeable. i think, suzanne, what the president wants to do, as he said, as secretary kerry said restore u.s. credibility. president assad crossed that red line first time. the administration didn't really come up with a strong response to that. wants to say, secretary kerry said, u.s. means what it says. >> i want to bring in fred pleitgen. you were one of the few jury room -- journalists to be inside syria this whole week. how are they reacting now that we've gotten announcements from the secretary of state that there will be some sort of military strike in syria?
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>> reporter: well, it's interesting, suzanne. because the reaction is coming a lot faster than you would think out of that place. usually it takes quite a while for the syrian government to respond to things. but now they have some urgent banners up on syrian state tv. i just want to read them to you. basically, they are sort of the syrian take on the kerry speech. i'll start with the first quote. kerry says any acts that the obama administration will carry out in the middle east has first and last objective, that is guaranteeing israel security. they're putting the whole israel aspect of his speech. he obviously did mention israel as one of the places u.s. has a security interest and relationship with. of course all of it was a lot broader. that's obviously being brought to the forefront here in all of this. there's a second quote says kerry openly expressed the true objective of the u.s. action against syria. that the strike will serve the best interest of their allies in the region and israel. it's basically pointing it out and saying -- putting israel in the forefront instead of putting out the broad speech that was out there, suzanne.
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>> you've said throughout the week how the syrians themselves are preparing for a potential strike. i imagine that continues as well. fred, we appreciate it. of course, we're going to be following reaction throughout the world as well as the country. real potential now of the obama administration military strike inside of syria. brooke baldwin is going to take it from here after a quick it from here after a quick break. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
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here we go. breaking news on this friday afternoon. i'm brooke baldwin. you are watching cnn's special coverage of the escalating situation in syria. happening right now, we are learning at least part of what the white house knows when it comes to syria. i'm talking specifically about the release of this. this is the u.s. government assessment of the syrian government's use of chemical weapons. specifically talking about august 21, 2013. this is a declassified, four-page report here. declassified. that is serving as proof that

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